Framlingham’s road closure chaos has had ‘dramatic’ effect on shops – with two more months of disruption to come

Roadworks in Framlingham. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Roadworks in Framlingham. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk town which has faced 10 days of road closure “chaos” – has reacted with dismay to news of two more months of highways disruption.

Businesses in Framlingham say the double closure of Mount Pleasant and College Road had a “dramatic” effect on footfall, while drivers have complained of “gridlock” and lengthy diversions.

The roads, which are major routes in and out of the town, have been closed to allow for sewerage connections to Persimmon Homes’ housing development in Mount Pleasant, They are due to reopen on Friday, followed by a further five-six week weeks of traffic lighted one-way systems.

In the midst of this disruption, Taylor Wimpey has written to residents warning of a two month road closure along Fairfield Road, where it is building 163 homes.

The closure, which is scheduled from February 13-April 13, will be between Fairfield Crescent and Brick Lane to allow for widening and footpath improvements.

Fairfield Road is quieter than College Road or Mount Pleasant and the diversions are minor in comparison. However residents said they still expected disruption – particularly along Fore Street, which is often troublesome for traffic due to on-street parking.

Frustrations have been compounded by the fact the closures are connected with the housing developments, which had been widely opposed.

Karen Haynes, who works at Bulstrodes in Bridge Street, said business owner Bill Bulstrode had complained to highways about the signage over the closures.

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“Footfall has been dramatically down and those customers who do visit have been complaining about how difficult it has been,” she added.

She also stressed that despite the road closures, the car parks in Framlingham remained accessible and urged people to visit the town and its businesses.

Diana Turan, who lives in Market Hill, said the town had been quiet since the start of the closure, which had been “awful” for those who needed to travel.

Framlingham Residents’ Association chairman Christopher Sharpe said the closure was a “necessary evil” for new homes to be built. However expressed surprise at the damage caused by vehicles using Brook Lane as a diversion and questioned whether Persimmon should pay for repairs.

Framlingham district councillor Christopher Hudson said Fore Street was now “the road to hell”.

Town resident Robbie Abraham added: “I predict that the traffic from College Road lights will get caught up with traffic using Fore Street and I cannot see how this has been allowed to happen.

“I can only assume that whoever authorises these road closures does not live anywhere near Framlingham.”

Keith Mears, another resident, said the closure would force more traffic to the junction of Fore Street and Station Road, leading to “inevitable congestion and frustration”.

“This will all be aggravated if the Mount Pleasant traffic lights cause tail backs round Well Close Square at peak period,” he added.

Businesses in the Woodbridge area have also complained about the effect of the Woods Lane closure in Melton, which is to allow for work on Bloor Homes’ Longwood Fields development.

Taylor Wimpey said the closure was part of improvements planned for its Castle Keep development including widening pathways and the road.

“This will create a better, more uniform highway and will have the added benefit of alleviating the historic flooding problems in the area,” a spokesman added.

He said residents had been informed of the plans and diversion route, which had been approved by the highways authority.

“We know road closures can cause disruption and we apologise for any inconvenience,” he added. “However, we hope residents will appreciate the long-term benefits the improvement work will bring.”

Persimmon said previously it had made “every effort” to “minimise inconvenience to local residents”.

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